Guns & Gulaabs: A Blend Of ‘Gangs Of Wasseypur’ And ‘Mirzapur’

Another story on drugs but worth a watch for the ensemble cast and the eccentric characters created by the director duo — Raj & DK.

Not as brilliant as Raj & DK’s previous ventures.
Guns & Gulaabs (Hindi)
  • Cast: Dulquer Salmaan, Rajkummar Rao, Adarsh Gourav, and Gulshan Devaiah
  • Director: Raj & DK
  • Producer: Raj & DK
  • Music: Aman Pant
  • No. of episodes: 7
  • OTT platform: Netflix

Raj & DK carved a niche for themselves in the web series zone with the two seasons of The Family Man (2019, 2021) and Farzi (2023).

In both the web shows, the director duo took up global issues and portrayed them through a humanistic lens.

But with their latest outing — Guns & Gulaabs, they seem to have entered more into the space of Gangs of Wasseypur (2012) and Mirzapur (2018, 2020). However, what remains the same is their trademark humour.

Synopsis

The story of Guns & Gulaabs is set in the fictional town of Gulaabgunj during the 1990s.

Ganchi (late Satish Kaushik) is a drug dealer who signs a big deal with a Kolkata-based businessman named Sukanto Chatterjee (Rajatava Datta). As per the deal, Ganchi needs to deliver a big quantity of opium to this businessman in just a month.

Paana Tipu (Rajkummar Rao) is the son of the late Bablu Tiger (Arijit Dutta), a key member of the Ganchi Gang. Tipu is a mechanic with zero interest in entering his father’s profession. He is head over heels in love with a school teacher named Chandralekha (T J Bhanu).

However, Tipu’s life takes an unexpected turn when he kills two people, in a fit of rage, who work for a contract killer named “Chaar Cut” Atmaram (Gulshan Devaiah). This gang is responsible for the death of his father Bablu Tiger.

Jugnu (Adarsh Gourav) is the son of Ganchi who is both effeminate and also savage. He is desperate to win the approval of his father. He gets an opportunity to fulfil his dreams when Ganchi meets with an unexpected accident.

Arjun (Dulqer Salmaan) is the seemingly honest cop and the perfect family man. He was a deputy commissioner of police in Delhi during the time of the Bofors scam. Now, he is transferred to Gulaabgunj with a simple brief of cleaning up the place.

Running parallel to these characters are a bunch of schoolchildren. Among the kids, the most important one is Tanishq Chaudhary playing the troublemaker Gangaram.

Raj & DK smartly integrate this track into the main plot of gang violence and the opium trade.

Eccentric characters

What also makes Guns & Gulaabs worth a watch are the eccentric characters that Raj & DK created. Most of them come in shades of both black and white.

For example, Rajkummar Rao starts as a reluctant son whose only aim is to become a famous mechanic and marry the school teacher Chandralekha. His scenes with TJ Bhanu bring a smile to the viewer’s face.

The actor also leaves you in splits with his fantastic comic timing. There is certain likeability to Tipu even after he becomes a part of the Ganchi’s Gang.

Rajkummar Rao portrays all these shades with his usual finesse.

The combination of scenes between Rajkummar and Dulqer, though few in number, is still good to watch.

Through the character of Jugnu, Raj & DK explore the journey of a young man who is stuck between effeminateness and living up to his father’s expectations. There is a chilling scene at the end where Jugnu pours out his frustration to his dad.

It gives goosebumps to viewers, thanks to the performance of Adarsh Gaurav.

Tipu and Jugnu have a striking commonality — both are burdened by the legacy of their respective fathers.

As mentioned in the beginning Dulqer Salmaan’s Arjun is initially presented as the perfect cop and the ideal family man. But as the show progresses past skeletons keep coming out.

One of these includes a past affair with Yamini (Shreya Dhanwanthary). The duality of Arjun is portrayed well. Dulqer delivers the cuss words with conviction.

The track of the school children is effectively used to address how students are usually slotted under a particular category and the consequences it has on their personalities.

An important track that needs to be mentioned here is the student’s (Gangaram) infatuation with Chandralekha.

Flaws

Nevertheless, one big problem with Guns & Gulaabs is the tying up of the various subplots.

The last few episodes feel cluttered. You get the feeling that Raj & DK were in a hurry to wrap up the web series. The last episode, in particular, even with an interval in between feels much laboured.

The female characters, except TJ Bhanu, don’t make any impression.

Shreya Dhanwanthary, in particular, is criminally underused. This is sad because the women in both The Family Man and Farzi — be it Samantha, Priyamani, or Rashi Khanna — were featured in full-length roles as strong and powerful ladies.

Technical crafts

One of the things that stand out in Guns & Gulaabs is the technical department.

Pankaj Kumar does a beautiful job of taking back the audiences to those times with his lens.

In this, he is aided by a solid art direction department.

Aman Pant’s background score complements the period perfectly. It has the right retro feel. Both the background score and the cinematography enhance the show in a significant way.

Verdict

In all, Guns & Gulaabs do not entirely match up to the brilliance of the director duo’s previous works. But still, it is worth watching, particularly if you like crime thrillers.

(Views expressed here are personal.)

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